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New Hampshire received a small piece of good news this week - our unemployment rate fell to 6.4% (from 6.7% in April and 7% in March). That's the right direction, but we still have a long way to go.

Over the last twenty-five years, I've spent my life working to help people here in New Hampshire on issues that make a difference for all of us - from making it easier for families to save for college to fighting the rising cost of health care. Today, the most important way we can help people all across our state is by focusing on creating jobs. Over the past six months in my campaign for Congress, I have traveled to every corner of our district to sit down with workers and business leaders to talk with them about how the government can help them create new jobs.

In my race for Congress, I'm going to make jobs my #1 priority. Can you join me? Click here to support these ideas on jobs and spread the word about this campaign.

I toured the community college in Berlin and the paper mill in Gorham; a high-tech startup center in Lebanon and an advanced manufacturing firm that employs 85 people in a world-class facility off a bumpy back road in North Sutton. I sat down with leaders from some of our state's biggest employers in Nashua and community bankers in Concord. I talked with workers and managers, entrepreneurs and union members, and I heard how they have struggled with cutbacks and layoffs - but also how every single one of them is driven to make it through this recession and to make our way back to new growth and new jobs again.

Here is what I've heard:

First, the bad news - there is no silver bullet. No one policy, no one regulation or deregulation, not even the biggest stimulus nor the deepest tax cut will end this recession on its own. But the good news is that we have all the elements we need to get our economy back on track right here in New Hampshire: a business climate full of promising small businesses & startups; plentiful natural resources like wood, wind, and educational institutions that produce bright engineers; and a well-trained labor force ready for hard work.

Here are three ways we can harness those ingredients and turn them into job growth:

  • Small Businesses & Startup Support - New Hampshire small businesses employ more than half of all workers here, but they saw a 39% drop in small business lending last year, from $128 million to less than $80 million. We have some great community banks in New Hampshire, and we need to strengthen them by diverting money away from the Wall Street bailouts and using it instead to bolster small business lending. We also need to eliminate capital gains taxes on small business investment, give tax credits for new plants and equipment, and explore new ways to promote investment in the startups that create new jobs.

  • Clean Energy Technologies - These are not "the jobs of tomorrow." These are the jobs of today. Thousands of NH workers go to work every day harvesting timber in our North Country, developing better solar panels in Merrimack, and creating new wood pellet supply systems in Peterborough and Goffstown. Startups are cracking the code of super low-energy computing in Hanover, low-energy lighting in Nashua, and efficient energy storage in Lebanon. We have a well-educated workforce and we already attract great engineering and advanced manufacturing companies. New Hampshire must lead this emerging sector, not follow.

  • Public Investment in Roads, Weatherization, and Universal Access to Broadband - It is a missed opportunity to let tens of thousands of New Hampshire workers sit idle while economic development projects hold so much promise but remain undone. Every building that isn't weatherized costs us wasted heating and cooling costs. Every home and business that is forced to rely on dial-up internet simply can't compete in today's economy. These are projects that can't be outsourced to China, and they should employ well-trained, well-paid New Hampshire workers. A good place to start is by pressuring the U.S. Senate to pass the "Creating American Jobs and Closing Tax Loopholes Act" which has already passed the U.S. House.

But to do that all , we need to make sure the jobs we are creating are here at home (not overseas); that we fix Wall Street and enforce real accountability; and that we get back on the path towards balanced budgets so our recovery is truly sustainable:

  • Keeping Jobs Here in the U.S. - A new study this spring confirmed that "New Hampshire has lost a higher percentage of jobs to China in the last decade than any other state in the country - especially in the high-tech industry." That cannot continue. We must end tax breaks for companies that move jobs overseas and instead provide tax credits for companies to create jobs right here in New Hampshire.

  • Fairness & Wall Street Reform - We can't build a recovery on a broken foundation. Our economy will never truly recover until the underlying problems that led to the crash of 2008 are fixed. To nurture a stable and fair investment climate, never again can we let financial institutions become so large and so risky at the same time that they threaten our economy as a whole. The big banks must pay back the full costs of the bailouts and we need strict enforcement of new consumer protections going forward.

  • Fiscal Responsibility - I am a frugal Yankee and I will not stand by while our country borrows against my two sons' future. While some targeted spending and job-creation tax cuts like I mentioned above will cost federal dollars, we must also strengthen the Pay As You Go rules that helped us reach balanced budgets in the late 90s. Every new investment must come with an offset, and we need to end the broken earmark system for good. Bringing our troops home from Iraq and refusing to get pulled deeper into Afghanistan will save hundreds of billions of dollars, and rolling back the most expensive, least-equitable parts of George W. Bush's broken economic policies will put us on a stronger footing after years of reckless spending.

I've spent my life working to bring our state's nonprofit, business and community leaders together to improve the lives of New Hampshire families. That's what it will take to grow jobs again: working together. Politicians alone don't have all the answers, but neither to business executives, workers, or nonprofit and community leaders. None of us do.

Together, we can get the job done. We have all the ingredients right here in New Hampshire that we need to spur job growth again: entrepreneurial spirit, hard workers, values like fairness and frugality, and plentiful natural resources. It is time for national policies that support our strengths and reflect our values - that is how we will grow jobs again.

If you agree, join me and help spread the word.

Ann McLane Kuster is a Democratic candidate for Congress in NH-02 - visit the Kuster for Congress website to learn more.

Originally posted to Ann McLane Kuster on Thu Jun 17, 2010 at 07:52 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  New Hampshire gives more tax money than it gets (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Kitty, pontechango

    Due to our state government forebearing to collect income tax, the very wealthy in NH keep the less wealthy from receiving back their fair share of taxes paid to the Federal Government.  As a Congresswoman, you can't change NH policy but it would be good to see the middle class and the poor not penalized for the very wealthy who use NH to escape state income taxes while contributing little to the state except to see the Federal share of dollars to NH cut due to their presence.

    I hope, that if you become our Congresswoman, you will try to change the formula of Federal payment so that it doesn't rely on the per capita income in the state but rather a formula that more fairly reflects the average person's income rather than those few who are extremely wealthy.  Thanks.

  •  Good luck -nt (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    SusanL143
  •  all well and good... (3+ / 0-)

    Jobs are needed.

    I like all your proposals but the last. This is no time for fiscal "responsibility". Market sentiment is hardening against FinReg, environmental legislation and stimulus, so the private sector isn't going to create jobs while any of that is pending. Which leaves government spending.

    Had you come here and said, "let's get out of Afghanistan, take a hard look at defense spending, and seek ways to foster entrepreneurship" (say, a department of mentoring, for instance), then I'd be more comfortable with your proposals.

    Cutting the deficit isn't quite the priority now that jobs are, and democrats should be looking at tax reform as a way to deal with deficits.

    It is just in the past year that the top 5% of income earners paid more tax, in raw dollars, than the bottom half, and the only way this was accomplished was that 47% of wage earners paid no income tax at all under the Obama tax cut and a near 10% unemployment rate.

    Basically, the top 5% of earners finally paid more than the top 3% of the bottom half. I'm underwhelmed.

    So, don't talk to me about fiscal responsibility, please. I'm off to my minimum wage job now. I'll check back for replies tonight.

    What has a "political realist" done for you lately?

    by papicek on Thu Jun 17, 2010 at 08:30:04 AM PDT

    •  Actually, (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      papicek, SusanL143

      Some of what you suggest is exactly in here: ("Bringing our troops home from Iraq and refusing to get pulled deeper into Afghanistan . . ."explore new ways to promote investment in the startups that create new jobs.")

      Fiscal responsibility shouldn't be used as a fake excuse not to do what we need to do to put job creation first (which is why Annie called out the Creating American Jobs Act in particular...because the opponents of that have been using 'fiscal responsibility' as a reason to oppose it even though that never stopped them from voting to go to war in Iraw, voting for hundreds of billions in tax breaks, tax cuts that are aimed at the very wealthiest, etc.)

      But we can't afford to ignore it either.  In the long term, deficits DO matter.  And the best way to get out of these deficits is (a) create enough jobs the buoy the economy and also (b) cut down on some of the horribly irresponsible spending that ramped up during the Bush years.

      Plus, this fall Annie will likely be running against a 6-term GOP Congressman who lost in 2006 and is trying to get back into power.  The national debt went from roughly $4 trillion to $8 trillion on his watch, and he voted for tens of billions of dollars in corporate tax breaks and subsidies to oil and gas companies, nuclear power, etc.  He must be held accountable to his record of irresponsible spending.

      [Campaign Manager for Ann McLane Kuster (NH-02)]

      by ColinV on Thu Jun 17, 2010 at 08:47:02 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  All the small biz tax breaks in the world (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    papicek, SusanL143

    aren't going to get them to hire unless they have customers.

    Customers have to have money to spend.

    Small businesses cannot save this economy, no matter how much some people want them to. They don't pay enough to enough people to matter in today's high-cost lives. A lousy $10 per hour job that many small businesses act like is an act of beneficence won't even allow a person to rent a one-bedroom apartment in most major cities.

    People in legislatures -- and running for office -- need to realize: private businesses aren't going to hire us. The government needs to create a jobs program, and enforce the damn age discrimination laws that everyone is ignoring.

    It's really just simple math: there aren't enough jobs left in this country to gainfully employ the workers who need them. Private business doesn't care. Unless you flat out pay the salaries for everyone they hire, they aren't going to be motivated to employ the long-term unemployed. It's just not happening.

    Time for a new CCC and WPA, or we will continue to flounder.

    "The difference between the right word and the almost-right word is like the difference between lightning and the lightning bug." -- Mark Twain

    by Brooke In Seattle on Thu Jun 17, 2010 at 08:53:58 AM PDT

  •  Ok, here's what I know... (0+ / 0-)

    or think is known, because nobody is certain of the real numbers.

    As of 2007, it was estimated that $12 TRILLION sat in off shore financial centers. It's as if the entire US GDP was removed from the world's tax base. That's huge. You can encourage your children to become doctors and lawyers, but that's only for chump change. By far, the highest paid professionals in the world are the tax lawyers and accountants who specialize in "wealth management," and they are busily moving capital off shore right now to protect it from tax hikes.

    Have you heard of ICE Trust? It's a clearing house created by the big banks in New York, London and Paris, as a clearinghouse (read "exchange") for credit default swaps. Just credit default swaps as far as I know right now. That could change. I've heard rumors.

    Hastily created because the big banks thought that their derivative operations would be forced onto exchanges, it has already been up and running for over a year. It is co-located in New York, Atlanta, and most importantly, the Cayman Islands. It has tax evasion written all over it. It's also a handy way for corporations to bring their revenues on shore in a tax free form. It suffers from opacity,  the inability of the federal government to enforce tax compliance, and is wide open for abuse.

    Then there's transfer pricing, another form of tax avoidance. I'm sure you know what this is, but for others reading this, it is a form of abuse (often enough anyways) that occurs when prices from a company in one country sells to a company in another country, and both of those companies are subsidiaries of a parent company who rigs the prices to avoid paying taxes. The prices are not set by the free market, and so far, the only proposal out there to deal with it amounts to self-regulation, and we've seen how well that works lately. How big a problem is this?

    60% of international trade occurs between subsidiaries of the same parent company.

    All of these, and more, are dodges for tax avoidance that the wealthy and corporations regularly use. Oil companies, oddly enough, pay about a 21% effective tax rate, due to the fact that most of the oil reserves in the world are located in countries that charge higher taxes on oil extraction than we do. Which doesn't prevent Exxon/Mobil from conducting transactions in their Cayman Island subsidiary for oil purchased by someone in the US from the government of, say, Kyrgyzstan. All of the dodges are unavailable to ordinary working tax payers, and it shows. Last year corporations didn't even come close to paying, in raw dollar amounts, what individuals did - even though 47% of households paid no income tax at all. Corporate tax receipts were even less than what tax payers paid in Social Security taxes (link). SS taxes are capped, aren't they?

    I won't even go into detail of the federal subsidy of Wall Street represented by tax deferrals on individual contributions to IRA's and 401k's. This should speak for itself.

    A democrat citing "fiscal responsibility" when asking for my support should really do some serious homework.

    What has a "political realist" done for you lately?

    by papicek on Thu Jun 17, 2010 at 05:59:21 PM PDT

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